Wednesday, February 8, 2012
THE BLUES LOVERS - New Correspondent Mike Packer
Woodstock, the little village located in upstate New York primarily known for the 1969 rock concert that tried to change the world and in some ways did. Nowadays there is still music there and good music at that but not like it was in it's heyday when you could walk around town and go from bar to bar and be able to listen and see artists like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In 1975 Muddy Waters recorded his last album @ Levon Helm's studio who was the drummer for Woodstock's own "The Band". Today Levon is still keeping the music alive with his Midnite Rambles that feature guests like Steve Earl and Emmy Lou Harris but in town not too far from Levon's barn there is a house built out of logs appropiately named "Logstock" and the blues is getting some well deserved recognition by it's owners Rob Ramirez and Joni Elenson. Rob & Joni happen to be the one of biggest fans and supporters of blues music I know. They are constantly throwng parties for the community where practically the whole town shows up with food and drink and that Woodstock spirit. It is a real refreshing thing to see. They also put on events to help people in need like the local womans shelter or an individual who might be going through hard times. At these events you don't know who might show up like Michael Lang (original Woodstock producer) and musicians such as the electrifying Alexis P. Suter with her band doing her gospel-blues thing on Rob & Joni's living room stage or the legendary Commander Cody/aka George Frayne playing Logstock's baby grand piano with a 17 year old Woodstock guitar prodigy named Connor Kennedy. "Logstock" has also become home to the local musicians where they are free to perform giving them an outlet that is getting harder to find these days. The parties are out of this world, food, drink and great people. Rob & Joni are definitely keeping the Woodstock tradition alive. Peace, love, music and good fun!
When Rob & Joni are not @ Logstock they are out on the road traveling in their RV motor home like rock stars on tour. They hit every festival and club on the east coast. They also go on the Legendary Blues Cruise twice a year and have become good friends with artists like Kenny Neal, Cyril Neville, Tommy Castro, Deanna Bogart, Kim Wilson, David Maxwell ( who introduced me to Rob & Joni) and Elvin Bishop to name a few. The list goes on and on. Rob,Joni and Logstock have also had their pictures featured in the prestigious Big City Blues magazine owned and operated by another friend Robert Whitall Jr.. Rob & Joni are also big time supporters of the thriving New York blues scene especially giving assistance to a new blues club in Middletown NY called Brian' Backyard BBQ. The owner of the venue Brian Remaly has been booking national and local acts and I believe is destined to become a major blues venue. They also are frequent patrons of a sushi restaurant in Woodstock called "Harmony" which is owned by Albert Grossman's chef. Albert Grossman was the legendary manager to the stars Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Peter, Paul and Mary. Harmony is a venue where the local talent can perform and have their chance to shine.
Without a doubt the hugest contribution by these folks is coming up at the end of August (26th thru 28th) "Bluestock" to be held @ Hunter Mountain, NY about 20 miles from Woodstock. "Bluestock" was Rob's idea. He desperately wants the music scene to be what it was like in Woodstock's heyday. He feels music is the answer to our growing economic problems. If there were more venues with live music it would create jobs not just for musicians but for everyone as well. That is why "Bluestock" is so important. The festival will create work. "Bluestock" is being produced by another one of their friends named Steve Simon who is known for his St. John Island Blues Festival in the Carribean. "Bluestock" is in in good hands and will feature Greg Allman, Buddy Guy and a cast of the best blues musicians in the world.
Rob & Joni are living the dream and because of this dream they are keeping the dreams alive for blues musicians like myself and many, many others. The music can't live without the support of the fans. Thank you both Rob & Joni for being my friend and for keeping the blues alive. - Michael Packer - NYC blues musician